SALT LAKE CITY — In her bid to become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, Mia Love is the party’s emblem of diversity this year. She is reluctant to embrace the role, saying she does not let race or gender define her politics.
The 36-year-old mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, points to her policy stances as the reason for her success.
‘‘I was elected mayor not because of my race or gender, not because I wear high heels, but because of the policies I put in place,’’ Love said.
Polls show Love with a slight lead over Democratic Representative Jim Matheson, a six-term incumbent. The race is too close to call.
In a party that has struggled for decades to attract black voters, the daughter of Haitian immigrants included subtle nods to civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in her speech to the Republican National Convention in August.
‘‘Our story has been told for over 200 years with small steps and giant leaps,’’ she told the delegates. ‘‘From a woman on a bus to a man with a dream, from the bravery of the greatest generation to the innovators and entrepreneurs of today, this is our story.’’
Love has made much of her family story, a hallmark of her speeches: Her parents legally immigrated to Brooklyn, N.Y., in the early 1970s, she says, with just $10 in their pockets. She says her father — who has worked as a painter, janitor, and school busdriver — taught her never to ask for a handout. Her parents became naturalized citizens in 1984.
Black Republicans long have been scarce in Congress. Of 26 black GOP House members since 1870, the majority served in a post-Civil War Reconstruction era. The first black senator elected after Reconstruction, however, was a Republican, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts.
Sununu backs off remarks on Powell
WASHINGTON — A top adviser to Mitt Romney is backing away from his suggestion that fellow Republican Colin Powell endorsed President Obama because both men are black.
Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu issued a statement late Thursday night saying Powell is a friend and he respects the endorsement.
‘‘I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies,’’ Sununu said in the statement.
Appearing on CNN earlier on Thursday, Sununu said he wondered whether Powell had ‘‘a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.’’
Host Piers Morgan asked what reason that would be. Sununu said, ‘‘Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.’’
Powell endorsed Obama on Wednesday on CBS ‘‘This Morning,’’ saying that the president got the United States out of Iraq, has laid out a plan for leaving Afghanistan, ‘‘and didn’t get us into any new wars.’’
Powell, a former US secretary of state, also endorsed Obama in the 2008 campaign.
Romney won’t ask Ind. Senate candidate to pull ads
AMES, Iowa — A senior aide says Mitt Romney will not call on Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock to pull TV ads featuring the GOP presidential candidate’s endorsement.
The aide, Eric Fehrnstrom, says Romney disagrees with the Indiana Republican’s recent comment that pregnancy resulting from rape is, in Mourdock’s words, ‘‘something God intended.’’
But Fehrnstrom said Friday that Romney would not interfere with Mourdock’s ads.
Reid injured in crash in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS — Senate majority leader Harry Reid was in good condition on Friday night after an apparent rear-end car crash on an interstate through Las Vegas.
Reid “experienced rib and hip contusions and has been cleared for release by the doctors,” his office said in a statement.
Reid was wearing a seat belt.
Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Jeremie Elliott said six cars were involved in the chain reaction crash at about 1:10 p.m. Friday on Interstate 15.
Two police vehicles, two civilian vehicles, and two Capitol police vehicles were involved in the wreck.
The freeway runs parallel to the Las Vegas Strip.
It was not clear whether there were any other injuries.
GLOBE WIRE REPORTS